There is one thing that Republicans should be in complete agreement on with Hillary Clinton: President Obama doesn’t get enough credit for the economy.
The Democrats, with the assistance of an obliging press, have been so good at promulgating the myth that the economy is a success story that they are bragging about what is, in fact, Obama’s most epic failure.
They are bragging about what is, in fact, Obama’s most epic failure.
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Donald Trump, if he wants to become president, should recite the true tale of Obama’s economic failure and pin it directly on the rumps of both these Democratic donkeys.
The tale begins with the woe that is the centerpiece of any story about the economy: the amount of money average people have in their pockets.
Politics is not really just about “the economy, stupid” — the famous line Bill Clinton campaign staffers repeated to each other during his victorious 1992 campaign. Within that, it’s about how much money average American have to pay their bills, send their kids to college, and maybe purchase something useful or fun.
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Economic statistics are one thing. But buying milk is what matters. And on this score, Obama has been an unequivocal loser.
In 2014, the last year for which data are available, and after six full years of Obama’s stewardship, median household income was $53,657. That’s nearly $4,000 lower, in constant 2014 dollars, than it was in 2007, the last year before the recession hit. And it was nearly $1,650 below 2008, the year before Obama took office.
That is, Obama has failed to fix the problem. Even with wage growth over the past year, according to The Wall Street Journal, median household income is still likely not quite where it was in 2007.
No matter. Talk of recent wage growth is a projection. The last hard data we have shows a decline — and that means there is likely less money in your pocket than when the Obama presidency started, especially since fixed costs — like mortgage payments, your cable TV, your utilities, and the cost putting clothes on your kids and food in their mouths — probably haven’t changed much, even as your income declined.
And of course, a portion of the wage growth has been due to increased demand for labor — because so many people have simply dropped out of the labor force. At about 62 percent, the labor force participation rate is at levels not seen since the 1960s.
According to the Pew Research Center, the middle class is losing ground, falling for the first time in number below the combined population of those in the upper and lower classes. This under Obama, whose mantra for the past seven years has been some mumbo jumbo about “middle-class economics.” That must be a snarky reference to destroying the middle class.
The wage decline is the thick icing on a very sickeningly rich cake of economic catastrophe Trump can present to the American people.
Under Obama, home ownership is down — close to a 50-year low at about 63 percent.
The poverty rate in 2014 was at 14.8 percent, according to the Bureau — exactly where it was in the mid-1960s when Lyndon Johnson began the “War on Poverty.” That’s right, poverty under Obama has been at levels not seen in 50 years. But you wouldn’t know it from perusing the mainstream media.
And all of this ties back to economic growth under the current president. At close to a 1.5-percent average GDP growth, Obama has the very worst record on the economy of any post-war president. Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush — you name them, Obama is worse.
This is not simply, as the White House would have it, because a recession caused by a financial meltdown is some kind of unique circumstance that no mortal human being could fix in eight years. Obama’s economic policies have had consequences, and you’re living with them.
Obamacare is raising the cost of your health insurance as insurers are forced to cover more sick people and adhere to rigid coverage requirements. According to Politifact, health insurance premiums this year are set to rise between 4.4 percent and 13 percent.
Meantime, Obama has reportedly burdened the economy with a record 600 new major regulations of all sorts beyond his health care diktat.
Federal spending as a share of the economy is headed up above 22 percent, according to Obama’s own Office of Management and Budget, a level not seen since Ronald Reagan brought spending under control — somewhat — in the 1980s.
The federal deficit, which had declined under Obama and was long championed by him as a success story, is headed up again, according to the Congressional Budget Office, on track to reach $590 million for fiscal year 2016. The federal debt under Obama has more than doubled and will soon reach $19.5 trillion.
Economic growth — right now, as we wage the election — is close to zero. The economy grew by 1.2 percent in the second quarter of the year after struggling up by just 1.1 percent the quarter before. That is, after seven years of Obama, economic growth is in the tan. We are barely not in a recession.
Hillary Clinton wants Obama to get credit for the economy. Somebody please give it to him — fast.
And you might start worrying about the economy under Hillary.